Updated: May 22, 2019
Why it is time to put down your phones and electronics!
It is reported that people check their phones on average every 12 minutes. Not to answer it or speak into it which is what it was designed for, but to check it.
We are living in an age of technology where the answers to everything is at our fingertips or at the end of it. We can diagnose illnesses, ask life's burning's questions and connect with love ones across the world but according to research, what it doesn't seem to do so well on, is recharging and revitalising us.
Whilst there are positives to social media many of us may not appreciate the affects the online world is having on us but they are there. They are subtle and there are many.
Studies are correlating higher levels of social media activity with things like anxiety, isolation, sleep problems, depression and addictive behaviours.
This article looks at six ill effects that social media has on our mental health and which you may find interesting.
Not only that, but the more time we spend online whether it is shopping, checking emails or watching box sets means less time connecting to ourselves and our families.
Digital Detox and Curfews
A few months ago I started doing a digital detox. On a Monday and Thursday evening I would switch off all electronics around 6:30pm. I cleaned out my email subscriptions unsubscribing to things that I was no longer interested in or getting any benefit from. I left some facebook groups and unfollowed people whose posts negatively affected me.
I decided to up this for January and have started the new year with a daily digital curfew.
My phone and electronics go off every evening by 7pm (some evenings it has been earlier) and I do not turn them on until at least 9am the next morning unless I have to for work purposes.
The evening and morning are sacred times.
Think about it, from the moment you wake up you begin interacting with the world. We deal with work, families, the media, traffic, social media, colleagues, friends, shop workers, etc nearly each and every day.
At the end of the day do you really think it is relaxing to scroll through a constant stream of events on your phone? It can make us edgy, unsettled and restless.
What the evening is designed for is unwinding and drawing inwards so that we may restore our depleted energies.
I have truly been honoring this concept and having this curfew has already resulted in immediate benefits.
I have a daily evening and morning yoga practice. One which helps me prepare for sleep and the other to get me moving, ready for my day.
I have read a book and I am half way through another.
I have also spent more quality time with my Mum which doesn’t involve listening with one ear or eye while I navigate my emails or social media.
The morning time brings with it a new day, a fresh and clean slate.
You know the song; it's a new dawn, it's a new day... Each morning we welcome in fresh new energy which makes it the perfect time to cultivate it into the day we wish to have.
Before you have even had chance to stretch, yawn and rub your eyes do you want to be inviting in devastating news stories from around the world?
In addition to the curfew, I have consciously tried to spend less time on my phone every day even when it is on. What difference is it making? A big one!
Yesterday afternoon, I had a little time and found myself mindlessly scrolling facebook and before I knew it, a minute had turned into 5 and then 10.
What I noticed was the effect it had on me. I started judging, tutting, feeling irritable, helpless, fearful and ashamed.
Yes, there was a video of cute animals that made me smile but sadly this didn’t counteract the other posts. All I had done was scroll down my newsfeed but the impact was noticeable and without consciously being aware of this and changing my state, it had the power to influence my interactions and emotions for the rest of the day.
The lesson here is to choose your tribe carefully. I don’t just mean friends and family but all of the energy you invite into your life. You have the power to control this and it can make such a difference.
Who we associate with and the type of energy we surround ourselves with has the potential to sustain or drain us. Every time we switch on the radio, the television or open up our social media and emails we are inviting the world in.
If the thought of a curfew or detox creates anxiety then this is a sign of over reliance. Start small and build up. Try one of these:
Turn your phone onto airplane mode at least an hour before bed and switch off all electronics - yes that includes the TV!
Pick up a book
Pick an evening or two to engage in a pleasurable and relaxing activity
Unfollow or snooze people, groups and pages that bring you down
Have an email cleanse and do some unsubscribing
Have a technology free evening for the whole family
Download one of the many apps that track your social media useage
Notice how you feel when you come off line after a period of browsing - how do you feel?
Give it a go, I’d love to hear how you get on. Who knows you may get through a book you've been wanting to read for ages or rediscover a long lost hobby!